Fit for the world

A fridge with postcards
Do you have the dream to travel the world? It doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker or a businessman – language skills will come in handy during your travels. (Image: FAU/David Hartfiel)

With over 500 seminars in 28 different languages per semester, the Language Centre has something for everyone. If you’re studying languages, preparing for a semester abroad, looking for an additional qualification for a future job, or are just interested in foreign languages and countries, this is the place to come.

“Around 9,000 students use the Language Centre’s services every semester,” says Dr Gunter Lorenz, head of the centre. “As well as learning the language, our students also learn a lot about the country and the people. The accounts are firsthand because most of our teachers are native speakers of the language they teach. Over half of the students taking Language Centre courses are studying something other than languages and are doing the course alongside their degree or as a core skill. Many of them want to acquire language skills in addition to their actual degree so that they have better chances of getting a job later on.”

Karin is one such student. She is studying medicine and has already taken Language Centre courses in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. “As a doctor, you need to be able to speak other languages. I’ve often come into contact with patients who have a migration background,” she says. Götz is studying for a degree in International Business Studies. He’s learning English, Korean and Chinese. “I’ve been learning Korean since I spent a semester abroad in South Korea. I’m planning to spend six months studying in Beijing in the autumn, and I’d like to at least have mastered a few everyday phrases by then.” Daniel, on the other hand, is interested in Eastern Europe and is learning Russian: “I want to be able to read newspaper articles and understand political speeches in the original language.”

Multilingual professionals

For some languages (e.g. English, Spanish and French), the Language Centre also offers courses that allow, for instance, lawyers, doctors, economists and engineers to acquire specific linguistic tools for their career. Monika is supplementing her Life Science Engineering degree with courses in English and Swedish: “As an engineer, I’ll go abroad for a few years and I need to be able to speak the language.”

As proof of their language skills, Language Centre students can earn the UNIcert© certificate, which is available in four levels from beginner to advanced. UNIcert© guarantees high-quality foreign language tuition and is recognised throughout Germany. As well as conventional language classes, the Language Centre also offers scope for independent learning. You can use the self-study centre to practice your listening skills, pronunciation and vocabulary. And if you’re really ambitious, you can spend your semester break taking an intensive course made up of all-day sessions that cover a semester’s worth of material in a few weeks. Or you could take an online language course that allows you to study when it suits you and then practice what you’ve learnt in face-to-face sessions. Whatever course you’re interested in, you’ll need to register in good time. If you want to take a course that requires prior knowledge, you’ll have to sit an assessment test.

In many cases, as well as being desirable for your studies, language skills are also compulsory under exam regulations. Find out about your situation in good time, or ask your subject advisor about when language courses would fit in best with your degree.

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